Bust A Move: Northwestern University Dance Marathon Breaks $1,000,000 for First Time
In 2010, Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) teamed up with The Children’s Heart Foundation and the Evanston Community Foundation to produce one of the most successful Dance Marathons in Northwestern’s history. NUDM coordinated numerous opportunities throughout the year for its members to connect with its beneficiaries. It all paid off in March, when over 900 participants danced for 30 hours and, for the first time in Northwestern history, Dance Marathon raised more than one million dollars.
We are often asked why anyone would want to stay up to dance for 30 hours with music blasting in our ears, sweat trickling down our faces and soreness spreading from our dancing feet to our pumping fists. The only answer that NUDM dancers can give is magic.
Magic is the feeling of dancing with an 8-year-old boy and realizing that your dancing is the reason he’ll be able to continue fighting congenital heart disease. Magic is the delight on a young girl’s face after you finish coloring a Valentine’s card together, and she proudly displays it to her parents. And magic is crying after 30-hours of dancing – not because of pain or exhaustion, but because a grown man cries with you as students present him with a $630,000 check to fight congenital heart diseases in children. It’s not about the money, but it’s about the lives that we have the power to change. We put smiles on the faces of children and parents who have forgotten what smiling is. Nowhere else does a 21-year-old biomedical engineer create a lasting friendship with a 6-year-old Justin Bieber super-fan. This is why we dance.
Each year, NUDM selects a primary and secondary beneficiary for its annual event. In 2012, we will be dancing for The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, which supports childhood cancer research and provides assistance to families affected by childhood cancers. At the end of the 30 hours, once the check has been presented and the dancers have gone to bed, the biggest beneficiary isn’t a non-profit foundation, but it’s the students that wake up with a deeper understanding of purpose and humanity; it’s the friendships and smiles that NUDM has afforded upon its dancers, committee members and community. We are often asked why we dance, and sometimes, the best answer is just magic.
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